PRONUNCIATION: (dip-luh-MAT-iks)

MEANING: noun: The study of documents, especially historical documents, in an effort to authenticate, date, interpret, etc.

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin diploma (a letter of recommendation or an official document), from Greek diploma (a folded paper). Ultimately from the Indo-European root dwo- (two) that also gave us dual, double, doubt, diploma (literally, folded in two), twin, between, redoubtable, dubiety, diplopia, and didymous. Earliest documented use: 1808.

Variations on a Theme:

DIPLOMAT ICE - must be broken before the negotiations can begin

DUPLOMATICS - statesmanship by liars, who speak with with forked tongue

BIPLOMATICS - wordless statesmanship (ask Marcel Marceau how it's done)

DIPLOMATTICS - meetings are held upstairs in the garret

DIPLOMATINS - and they start first thing in the morning

DOPLOMATICS - the ambassador is an idiot